On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Springfield Township, the Temple Owls took part in their annual Cherry and White Game. The game took place on Cardinal O’Hara’s football field in front of a good crowd of Temple fans. The quarterbacks for the teams were sophomore P.J. Walker for Cherry and senior Connor Reilly for the White squad.
The game did not feature that much scoring but that does not mean fans didn’t get a chance to check out their favorite Owl in action. Early on in the first quarter, quarterback P.J. Walker showed his ability to move around in the pocket and scramble. When Walker would scramble he looked downfield for the long home run pass, which was not completed often. Walker needs to work on setting his feet when looking for the home run pass so he can complete the pass.
Walker had senior Jalen Fitzpatrick on his squad but the two did not look to be on the same page. Walker overthrew Fitzpatrick on multiple occasions when he was open down field. Hopefully as the two continue practicing together they can develop into a groove that Walker and former wide receiver Robbie Anderson used to have.
Fitzpatrick is looking to have a bounce back year, and now that receivers Ryan Alderman and Robbie Anderson are no longer with the team, the spotlight is on Jalen Fitzpatrick for his senior year.
Connor Reilly, who was the starter at the beginning of the 2013 season was under center for the White team. Reilly showed some of the speed that he possesses and his ability to complete quick 7 & 8 yard curl plays to pick up yards for his team. Though he nor P.J. were able to put points on the board in the first quarter they both looked to show confidence under center.
When the second quarter rolled around many plays looked similar to what haunted the Owls last year: poor red zone efficiency and a lackluster kicking game.
The first points of the game came off the leg of Tyler Mayes as he would make a 30-yard field attempt giving the White squad a 3-0 lead.
With Cherry getting the ball back after the field goal, P.J. Walker came out with energy looking to take the lead. A quick screen pass from Walker to Fitzpatrick looked to be like a play that was going nowhere, but Fitzpatrick used his speed to go from one side of the field to the other and manage to turn a play that looked to lose yards into a large gain.
Red zone problems would occur for the Cherry squad as they were unable to score a touchdown after a good drive. Jim Cooper, the troubled kicker from last year came in to tie up the game at 3-3 but Cooper would miss wide left on the field goal attempt. Cooper continues to be a question mark as a kicker on this team with his inability to make field goals. Pretty soon Cooper will have 2014 recruit Austin Jones breathing down his neck as a possible candidate to take over the kicker position.
Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Connor Reilly would both throw interceptions in the second quarter. Junior Shahid Lovett picked off Walker and junior Alex Wells picked off Reilly. Going into halftime the score would remain 3-0.
As the third quarter started fans got to see the first touchdown of the game. Junior running back Jamie Gilmore would break free for a 65 yard touchdown run, putting the Cherry team on top 7-3 after Cooper would make the PAT.
The White team would respond rather quickly as Connor Reilly finds Khalif Herbin for a 66 yard touchdown to take the lead back for White with a score of 10-7.
In the fourth quarter P.J. Walker would be intercepted by linebacker Jarred Alwan. Alwan played very well on the defensive side of the ball having an INT and a fumble recovery to his name.
The Cherry team was able to get a safer on a bad snap making the game interesting with 49 seconds to go and a score of 10-9. But that would be all she wrote as the White team would get the better of P.J. Walker and the Cherry team to win the annual spring game.